The art of listening – Why is it so difficult?


The first step to being customer-centric is building the skill to listen across the company.

I find this to be a very difficult skill to cultivate amongst people.  I also realise this is the root cause of many problems like:

  1. Not listening to a customer’s request, when she is trying to explain the issue to a customer service desk – How often have you heard this answer- " This is our policy", even before you have finished what you were trying to say!
  2. Inability to listen to a colleague’s point of view – For example, the sales executive and finance executive don’t see eye-to-eye. The customer is the one who is waiting at the counter not knowing what to do.
  3. Answering even before listening to a problem completely – I have experienced this with many phone banking requests, I have made.
  4. When we don’t listen, it creates "Mind-Locks" , therefore, creating deadlocks!
  5. We pre-conclude the result or outcome without looking at the problem holistically

I think, we need to slow down our mind to acquire this skill. When the mind and the ear work together at the same speed, we start listening. 

It’s been found that half the customer’s problem gets solved,  if he gets a feeling that you have listened to him. Imagine listening solves half the problem, acting on it  solves the balance 50%!

Do read this article . It is excellent and makes the point beautifully.

Are you still listening?

Photograph: pmtorrone/1906405

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